Published Date: 2017-10-24 14:20:37
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Bluetongue - Europe (03): UK (England, Scotland) ex France, bovine, BTV-8
Archive Number: 20171024.5400555
BLUETONGUE - EUROPE (03): UK (ENGLAND, SCOTLAND) ex FRANCE, BOVINE, BTV-8
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In this posting:
 England ex France
 Scotland ex France
Date: Mon 23 Oct 2017
Source: GOV.UK, DEFRA (UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs) and APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) report [edited]
The UK's Chief Veterinary Officer has urged farmers to remain vigilant for signs of bluetongue virus after the disease was successfully picked up in a number of cattle imported from France through our robust post-import testing regime.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) identified the disease in cattle after they were brought to Preston and Kendal in England and 2 locations in Scotland. A total of 32 animals came from the same assembly centre in France, in an area where multiple cases of bluetongue have been confirmed since September .
Action is being taken to ensure there is no spread of the disease, with movement restrictions at the affected premises, targeted surveillance, and the humane culling of animals where necessary.
Strict rules on the movement of livestock from regions affected by bluetongue are already in place. Farmers are reminded that animals from these regions must be accompanied by the relevant paperwork to clearly show they meet certain conditions designed to reduce disease risk, such as correct vaccination.
The UK remains officially bluetongue-free and exports are not affected.
Chief Veterinary Officer for the UK, Nigel Gibbens, said:
"Bluetongue does not pose a threat to human health or food safety, but can cause severe disease in some cases or have a negative impact on farm incomes, for example by causing reduced milk yield in cows and infertility in sheep. We continue to carefully monitor the situation in France, where Bluetongue disease control measures are in place.
"This detection is a good example of robust disease surveillance procedures in action and should highlight to farmers the risks which come with bringing animals from disease-affected areas into their herds.
"It is also a timely reminder for farmers that the disease is still a threat, despite coming towards the end of the period when midges are most active. Keepers must remain vigilant and report any suspicions to APHA. They may also want to talk to their vet to consider if vaccination would benefit their business.
The affected animals will be dealt with under the Trade in Animals and Related Products regulations. Cattle with a high risk of being infected with the BTV-8 strain of bluetongue or which had not been vaccinated before being exported will be humanely culled. Farmers will have the option to send those animals without fully compliant paperwork back to France or to cull them to reduce the risk of disease spreading to susceptible UK livestock.
Movement restrictions will be in place on the premises for several weeks until testing rules out spread via local midges.
Bluetongue virus is transmitted by midges and affects cows, goats, sheep, and other camelids such as llamas. It can reduce milk yield, cause sickness, reduce reproductive performance or, in the most severe cases, cause death of infected animals.
The UK Government has worked closely with a number of groups to raise awareness of the threat of bluetongue through the Joint campaign Against Bluetongue (JAB). The most recent case of the disease in the UK came in 2007. The UK has been officially free from the disease since July 2011.
Castleview English Longhorns
Date: Mon 23 Oct 2017
Source: The Scottish Farmer [edited]
Farmers in Scotland have been advised to be alert for signs of bluetongue virus following its discovery in a number of cattle imported from France.
The animals entered the UK earlier this month [October 2017] destined for 4 farms in England, in Preston and Kendal, and Scotland, in Dumfries and Stirling. Fortunately, the Animal and Plant Health Agency picked up the presence of the virus in the animals through its post-import testing regime, and action is now being taken to ensure there is no spread of the disease, with movement restrictions at affected premises, targeted surveillance and the humane culling of animals where necessary.
Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland, Sheila Voas said: "A total of 10 animals were imported from the same assembly centre in France -- an area where multiple cases of bluetongue have been confirmed in recent times -- and we are working closely with affected farms and stakeholders to contain the virus.
"While I am pleased with our robust disease surveillance procedures have worked, the identification offers a timely reminder to farmers for the need to remain vigilant and of the risks of importing animals from disease-affected areas into their herds.
"Bluetongue does not pose a threat to human health or food safety, but can have a severe impact on affected farms," she added.
The British Veterinary Association [BVA], backed by the British Cattle Veterinary Association, the Sheep Veterinary Society and the Goat Veterinary Society, responded to the news by calling for "responsible sourcing".
BVA senior vice president Gudrun Ravetz said: "It is reassuring that the systems we have in place for post-movement testing have ensured the disease has been detected quickly, and that action has been taken.
"However, it is a grave and timely reminder to all livestock keepers of the importance of responsible sourcing of animals, and of fully understanding the potential disease risks of importing animals from areas where disease is known to be circulating.
"Farmers should always consult their local vet and act within their farm health plan when sourcing new animals," said Ms Ravetz. "Bluetongue virus is spread via infected midges and with the mild weather we have been experiencing in the UK this autumn , it is essential that farmers, vets, and government agencies remain vigilant to the threat of disease spread."
She added: "Livestock keepers should also discuss options such as vaccination as one of the main methods of disease control."
Signs of the disease include eye and nasal discharge, drooling, swelling around the head or mouth, lethargy, and lameness. Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and any suspicions must be reported immediately to the APHA on 03000 200 301 (England), 0300 303 8268 (Wales) and regional Field Services Offices in Scotland (https://goo.gl/rgsdDT), or to DAERA [Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs] in Northern Ireland on 0300 200 7840.
Great Britain is officially a free area from bluetongue, with the last outbreak occurring in the South of England in 2007. Compensation is not paid for any imported animals culled under the Trade in Animals and Related Products regulations.
Castleview English Longhorns
The entire territory of mainland France, excluding the department of Côtes-d'Armor (in the extreme west of Brittany) and the western part of the adjacent department of Finistère, is regarded, according to EC provisions, as "regulated" in relation to BTV-8.
An updated (12 Oct 2017) map showing BTV-8 positive farms in France is available at http://agriculture.gouv.fr/liste-des-departements-et-des-communes-classes-en-zone-reglementee-fco. The outbreaks reported since 24 May 2017 are presented as yellow circles.
The said official website also includes a list of about 700 cattle farms in 13 of France's departments, which have been certified as being vaccinated against BTV-8 since December 2016 (with a certified inactivated vaccine). Most of the vaccinated farms are situated in the 3 departments of Loire, Haute-Loire, and Rhône.
The Scottish government's advise to cattle breeders says:
"Be cautious when sourcing replacement livestock. Where possible, avoid importing livestock either originating in or transiting bluetongue Restricted Zones. Where this is not possible, ensure that livestock are symptom free before arriving, find out if they have been vaccinated and protected with insecticide whilst travelling." Has this advise been neglected by some importers?
According to the said source, the vector (Culicoides) season in Scotland "is normally March to September." However, this does not exclude residual, or even considerable (weather-dependent) vector activity during October. This and additional relevant information are available at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/animal-welfare/Diseases/disease/Bluetongue.
The published requirements in relation to movements of cattle from BTV-infected zones to free zones within the EC, including pre-export vaccination and testing, are laid down in Commission regulation (EC) no 1266/2007, dealing with "the control, monitoring, surveillance, and restrictions on movements of certain animals of susceptible species in relation to bluetongue", available at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:02007R1266-20120605&from=EN. Please refer to annex III, "Conditions for exemption from the exit ban [referred to in Articles 7(2)(a) and 8(1)(a)]". - Mod.AS
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